Scott Wells – Selling Yourself

Columnist:
Scott Wells

Selling Yourself

Magicians must have the biggest egos of any profession. By virtue of how we must appear (indeed, BE) confident and in charge at all times, we must have a high degree of self assurance. We need a big ego to be successful. We need not be afraid of “tooting our own horn” when selling our services (“Yes ma’am, I’m the magician for your party. You and your guests will really enjoy my show. I’m the best you will ever see!”).

You can’t sell yourself as if you were selling tires. You are a commodity that is far more important than material things and what you have to offer as an entertainer has no price . . . well, maybe, but a high one.

You should remember what it was like when you were first dating and you fell in love. You didn’t have to force yourself on anyone or try any selling tactics, true love just happened. Don’t try too hard or seem too anxious. Don’t try to make people like you. When looking for a job, it should be like looking for a bank loan. When you don’t appear to need it, that’s when you will probably get it. Successful people like to associate with successful people.

Have all your arguments ready along with your arsenal of references, promotional material, and tricks, but be prepared to walk away from an establishment rather than getting your feathers ruffled and risking the loss of any potential employment opportunities there. After using your most persuasive arguments why they should hire you and they are still not interested in hiring you, then you should leave them with your promotional material and two business cards then politely leave. Swallowing a little pride now may pay off later in big dividends. They will remember you as being persuasive rather than obtrusive. After they have had time to think about it, they may call you back for another engagement; however, if you are obnoxious, then you can forget about ever working for them or any of their friends. Keep in mind that each person has about 200 friends and bad news travels faster than good news or recommendations. Remember too that restaurant management and philosophy changes fairly regularly, so don’t be forever discouraged from returning to try again.

And when on stage, you cannot lose control. That doesn’t mean to put anyone in an uncompromising position just to get a laugh, but you should establish early in your program that you are in control and stay there. You should know your routine inside out and where there are potential problems in your show where something could go wrong so you need to now plenty of “outs” in case of an emergency.

However, egos sometime get out of control as seen in those magicians who exude a “better than thou” attitude in their manner and performance. Their style says “I’m cool, you’re a fool.” This is most often found in magicians new to the art, but unfortunately this attitude is also seen in a few “seasoned” performers. These are the ones who should never depend on earning a living from their performances as they would blaze a trail of disappointed audiences who would vow never to see a “magician” again.

This is a fine line we walk as magicians, bordering on the sarcastic and obnoxious to the pleasant and friendly. Just make sure that you’re conscious of which side of the line that your on at all times.